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WE MUST NOT ALLOW GUYANA TO BECOME A NARCO-STATE

By Kim Chung on
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Feb 13 in press Releases 1 Comment

drug threatA Partnership for National Unity expresses its alarm at the reports in the international media that a Guyana-Italy cocaine conspiracy has emerged. Guyanese narco-traffickers are working with Italian Mafiosi.


The international media reported that two dozen suspected narco-traffickers linked to the Gambino and Bonanno crime families and the Italian crime syndicate known as Ndrangheta had been arrested earlier this week in New York and Italy during the coordinated American-Italian Operation New Bridge.

 

The clans were in the advanced stages of plans to smuggle some 500 kg (1,000 pounds) of pure cocaine from Guyana in South America to the port of Gioia Tauro in Calabria. Italian investigators estimated the street value of the shipment to be US$1 billion. Guyanese recall that the conspiracy began to unravel when the Malaysian news agency Bernama reported that a container from Guyana was intercepted with cocaine in coconut milk in November 2012.

 

Narcotics-trafficking seems to be increasing. The crime is driving this country’s high rates of money-laundering, gun-running, execution-murders and armed robberies. Violent crime is scaring foreign investors, driving away the educated élite, undermining economic growth and impeding social development. A former Crime Chief warned that ‘execution-type killings’ – many of which are suspected to be related to the narcotics-trafficking – account for about one-third of all murders.

The US Department of State’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report − released last year – noted: “Guyana is a transit country for cocaine destined for the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and West Africa. Cocaine originating in Colombia is smuggled to Venezuela and onward to Guyana by sea or air. Smugglers also transit land borders with Brazil, Venezuela, and Suriname. Cocaine is often concealed in legitimate commodities and smuggled via commercial maritime vessels, air transport, human couriers, or the postal services…”

The People’s Progressive Party/Civic Administration has not seriously confronted the challenge of narcotics-trafficking. It did launch a National Drug Strategy Master Plan nine years ago but allowed it to peter out without being fully implemented. The National Anti-Narcotics Co-ordinating Secretariat; National Anti-Narcotics Commission; Joint Intelligence Co-ordination Centre; Joint Anti-Narcotics Committee and Regional Anti-Drugs Units — never functioned.


The PPP/C administration over the last decade evaded the establishment of a permanent US Drug Enforcement Administration office. Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon once announced that a DEA office in Guyana would be welcome, suggesting that “certain details” had to be discussed before-hand. Then, former Minister of Home Affairs Ms Gail Teixeira kept up the jape by saying that “talks are ongoing” to establish the DEA office. When Mr. Clement Rohee took over the Ministry, he could say only that he “could not pronounce definitively” on the matter.

The lucrative narco-trade is said to earn the equivalent of 20 per cent or more of Guyana’s reported GDP. The lucrative trade, however, also spawns armed gangs which use their wealth to purchase political influence and suborn the security forces in order to protect their trade. Money-launderers associated with narcotics-traffickers also distort the domestic economy by pricing their goods and services below market rates but undermine legitimate businesses.

US INCSRs suggest that, throughout Bharrat Jagdeo’s presidency, there have not been any large domestic seizures of cocaine nor has any important member of a narco-trafficking cartel been punished by a court of law.

APNU is alarmed that the recent revelation of the existence of a Guyana-Italy cocaine conspiracy is evidence of a dangerous deterioration in public security.

APNU is of the view that the prevalence of narco-trafficking is a direct result of the failure of the Ministry of Home Affairs to implement a credible counter-narcotics strategy, to enforce domestic laws and to bring traffickers before the courts!


The current Guyana-Italy cocaine conspiracy confirms that Guyana is drifting towards becoming a narco-state. This must not be allowed to happen.


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Biaey
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Biaey Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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